Royal Armouries

The Foreigner’s Guide and the Horse Armory, 1729

Images

colour photo of a giant armour and a boy's armour

Overall view of the 'Giant' and boy's armours. (II.22 & II.126)

  • colour photo of a giant armour and a boy's armour

    Overall view of the 'Giant' and boy's armours. (II.22 & II.126)

  • Print of visitors looking at displays of armour

    ‘The Horse Armoury in the Tower’ by Thomas Rowlandson , engraving published 1 January 1800 by Rudolf Ackermann, 101 Strand © Royal Armouries 2013

  • monochrome photo of an armoured figure holding a wooden baton

    Greenwich armour for field and tournament. (II.40)

  • a page of italic text from a letter

    A page from a letter from Samuel Molyneux, 1712 © Southampton City Council

  • Greenwich Armour for Field and Tournament II.40

    Armour for Field and Tournament. English, Greenwich, about 1590 (II.40)

The Foreigner’s Guide and the Horse Armory, 1729

Description

The Foreigner’s Guide devoted several pages to a description of the sights to be seen at the Tower of London. It described the Menagerie and Mint, the Jewel House, Horse Armoury, Small Armoury and Grand Storehouse. The emphasis for sightseers at this time was to see these attractions, rather than to look at the architecture of the Tower itself.

The various attractions each had an individual admission charge, and there was also a gratuity to be given to the Warder who accompanied you and your party while you were onsite. The Guide is written in both English and French to meet the needs of foreign tourists as well as British ones.

The description of the ‘Horse Armory’ includes a reference to an armour which was then said to have belonged to John of Gaunt. This armour, II.22, is still in Royal Armouries collection and on show at the Tower of London, but is now known to have been made in about 1535. Similarly the armour of ‘William the Conqueror’ can be identified with an armour, II.40, which was actually made in about 1590!

‘La Sale des Cuirassiers. Ici se trouve les Statues curieuses de quinze de nos Rois, qui ont regné depuis Guillaume le Conquerant, en riches Cuirasses, & Accompagnés de leurs Gardes; avec la belle Cuirasse de Jean de Gaunt, 4me Fils d’Edouard III. Ici on paye trois Sous’. ‘The Horse Armory. Here are seen the curious Figures on Horseback of our fifteen Kings, since William the Conqueror, all mounted in rich Armour, accompanied by their Guards, with the curious Suit of Armour of John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward III. Here you pay three Pence’.

Related Objects

Giant armour The Giant armour. German, Brunswick, about 1540

Dates from 1540 | Object number: II.22, XVII.42

Greenwich Armour for Field and Tournament Click on the title link above to find out more.

Dates from 1590 | Object number: II.40

Gebhard Wendeborn’s visit to the Tower in the 1780s Click on the title link above to find out more.

Samuel Molyneux’s Letter about his visit to the Tower Click on the title link above to find out more.

Ned Ward’s Humorous Account of the Tower as a Visitor Attraction Click on the title link above to find out more.

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